The ONLINE MARKETING Manager responsible for the sale of capital equipment, components or raw materials to industrial users has a rather different need of advertising from that of his counterpart in the consumer goods field. In the first place, one finds that advertising appropriations among industrial product manufacturers are usually smaller. Secondly, industrial markets tend to be more segmented than those for consumer goods and, generally speaking, somewhat easier to identify.

On the other hand, advertising research into industrial markets has lagged behind that of the consumer field with the result that one often finds insufficient information on the readership of trade and industrial journals. In these circumstances correct evaluation of the available advertising media becomes more difficult.

Media suitable for the promotion of industrial products include the following:

(1) Industrial and trade press advertisements.

(2) Public relations.

(3) Sales literature.

(4) Direct mail.

(5) Trade exhibitions.

(6) Demonstration films.

A major difference in the relevance of press advertising between consumer and industrial products lies in the question of 'branding' We have seen that in consumer product marketing, the establishment of a satisfactory 'brand image' is often essential to achieve loyalty from consumers and to protect one's market share from the attack of competitors. With industrial marketing, the situation is often quite different. Here, one is selling on the basis of quality, service and price and usually in that order. Industrial buyers have no option but to purchase such components and materials that their production departments require. Thus advertising does not create the demand for industrial products. It provides, instead, a backdrop for the other promotional tools of the ONLINE MARKETING effort: sales force; direct mail; public relations and trade exhibitions.

One of the functions of industrial advertising is to provoke enquiries for the company's goods or services from new potential clients, which the sales force can convert into repeat business. This is something which can be achieved by means other than press advertising. Indeed, one may well ask whether there is any particular wisdom in spending a modest publicity appropriation on advertising at all. Sometimes a better job can be done by spending the money in other ways-by means of high-quality literature, the use of regular direct mail shots to all likely users of the product or simply by an overall improvement in public relations.

If it is decided to advertise, one of the problems is that in Britain alone there are well over three thousand trade and technical journals. Some industries are catered for by upwards of half a dozen competing organs. Obviously, indiscriminate use of such media can be extremely expensive. The lack of any reliable quantuplication analysis-which is the name given to the method of discovering the overlap of readership between more than two journals-makes the task of industrial media research hazardous. Whilst it may be true that an advertisement in any one of the trade journals ensures that it is aimed at a readership which is likely to be directly involved in the trade or industry served, many such publications contain such a welter of advertising matter that there can be little assurance that one's message will have much impact.

It is for this reason that some industrial products manufacturers eschew the trade press and use the columns of the 'quality' national newspapers and journals on the grounds that these are read by, perhaps, the widest selection of people who occupy decision-making positions in their respective organizations. Advertising rates in the national press tend to be considerably more expensive than in trade journals but the advertising content in relation to editorial is often much smaller.

Industrial product advertising usually divides into 'hard sell' and prestige advertisements. The 'hard sell' type often features a specific product or group of products and aims to engender the interest of potential users by means of detailed information with regard to quality or performance, accompanied by an invitation to the reader to write to the company for fuller details. This approach is backed, frequently, in trade journals, by a reader reply-card system. Anyone requiring additional information has only to detach from the journal a pre-paid reply postcard, insert his name and address and the code number of the advertisement. The journal arranges to pass on the enquiry to the advertiser concerned.

A 'prestige' advertisement, on the other hand, has a much less specific purpose. Its aim is to create a favourable image, either of the product or the company (or both) and, by constant repetition, to instil that image into the minds of as many as possible of its users or potential customers. To some extent the industrial 'prestige' advertisement bears a close relationship to the 'brand image' advertising of the consumer products field.

The question of which type of advertising to use is always difficult to answer. The 'hard sell' promotion has the merit of being more easily measurable in terms of the number of enquiries which it evokes. 'Prestige' advertisements seldom produce any direct response. On the other hand, 'prestige' advertising has a better long-term effect. When the same message is propagated month in and month out (and often year in and year out) the company concerned has the opportunity of building an image of consistency and, by inference, of reliability, which can be of major assistance to the efforts of its sales force.

Next Step: - Planning An Industrial Advertising Campaign

Please Note

The Trade is, of course, a major source of product ideas. All manufacturers examine, with avid interest, the new products of their competitors.